INVERCARGILL City Council’s new chief executive Clare Hadley plans to take some time to get to know council staff, councillors and the community before affecting any change, she says.
“I am going to listen and observe and get to know people before anything happens.
“I need Southland to get to know me, too.
“If I rush it, it will have the wrong outcome.”
The council had indicated it wanted to develop a better relationship with the community, she said.
“That’s customer service and a focus on how we deliver services.
“I am looking forward to getting into some of that feedback… and seeing what we need to do to change.”
Mrs Hadley started in the council’s top job on Monday, replacing Richard King who retired after 31 years of service.
With the council’s long-term plan now out for public consultation, it was a good time to start in the role, she said, so she could get a sense of what the community wanted to achieve over the next 10 years.
Mrs Hadley has had an extensive career in local government.
“I fell into local government when I joined the Dunedin City Council in 1988 and found it just so stimulating and challenging and so enjoyable and rewarding,” she said.
“I never found anything more interesting outside of it.”
Mrs Hadley has worked at Porirua City, Hutt City and Palmerston North City councils and served as chief executive of Rangitikei District Council and, most recently, the Nelson City Council.
Among her strengths were the ability to identify priorities and most importantly make things happen, she said.
“I really like to see things be delivered.
“Invercargill has had some really good projects delivered and I am looking forward to working with my team to deliver more.”
Southland’s reputation for its warm community was one reason she had applied for the role, she said.
“As you travel further south in New Zealand the weather is cooler, but the people are warmer.
“That sense of very strong community was really appealing.”
Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said the council appointed Mrs Hadley because she was experienced in local government and would be able to look at the council with “fresh eyes”.
The council had not given her a directive at this stage, but rather wanted to give her time to observe the running of the council, he said.